Mercedes dominated the Chinese Grand Prix today at the Shanghai International Circuit, securing a 1-2 victory with Lewis Hamilton taking his 75th career win and second of the season at this historic 1000th Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas put in a strong performance for the team having lost his pole position at the start of the Grand Prix to ensure the team scored maximum points. Sebastian Vettel managed to secure the last podium spot for Ferrari ahead of his teammate Charles Leclerc who crossed the finish line in fifth.
Not only is it Hamilton’s sixth win at the Chinese Grand Prix, but it is also the 90th win for Mercedes-Benz in Formula One.
Lewis Hamilton has now overtaken his teammate in the Drivers’ Championship and leads him by 6 points with 68 points. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport lead the Constructors’ Championship with 130 points from Scuderia Ferrari who have 76 points.
Lewis Hamilton commented after the race that “It’s not been the most straightforward of weekends, but what a fantastic result for the team, everyone’s worked so hard for this. Coming here we didn’t know exactly where we would stand with Ferrari, as they’d been so quick in Bahrain. Valtteri has been quick all weekend and did a great job today. To have a 1-2 together is really special for the 1,000th Grand Prix. The start was where I made the difference and after that it’s history. The strategy has really been on point over these first three races, so we need to keep that up. Team LH China have been incredible all weekend, a big thank you to them. They welcomed me from the moment I arrived at the airport, at the hotel every morning and night every single day, and then at the track too. A big thank you to everyone who’s supported me. You can still see it’s very close between us all. I really have no idea how the next races will turn out but I’m super excited for them.”
Sebastian Vettel managed to get off the grid quicker than pole sitter Valtteri Bottas, but in his rush to get ahead of Bottas on the outside at the first corner, he ended up losing a place to Charles Leclerc, who passed him on the inside.
With the Mercedes racing away, Ferrari asked the drivers to swap positions after 10 laps to see if Vettel could keep up with the German team’s pace.
In the closing stages of the race, Vettel consolidated his third place behind Hamilton and Bottas, while Leclerc endeavoured to close the gap with Verstappen and try to get into fourth. It was not to be, and he had to settle for fifth behind the Red Bull. Although Ferrari was unable to match the pace of Mercedes today, they remain second in the Constructors’ championship with 73 points, while Vettel is fourth in the Drivers’ Championship on 37, and Leclerc fifth on 36 points.
Sebastian Vettel summed the race up by saying: “We are happy we got the podium, but overall we can’t be satisfied because we were too slow today. We were hoping to be in a much better place and be a match for Mercedes, but we were not. Also, it was a shame we didn’t manage to finish third and fourth, In terms of calls from our pit wall today, the priority always lies within the team and Charles and I are both aware we are driving for the team. We can do our own race but first of all we have to ensure Ferrari is in a position to fight with its rivals. I think we have a good car and we are still not able to unlock its potential completely. We are learning a lot about it and it’s important to do many laps to get a better feeling for it. We are getting an ever-clearer picture of what we are lacking at the moment, so I think the next few weeks will be important for us, so that we can get on the right road for the coming months”.
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team
It was a tough weekend for the Rich Energy Haas F1 Team with Romain Grosjean finishing the Chinese Grand Prix in 11th place, ahead of his team mate Kevin Magnussen who came 13th. It means that the team has dropped to sixth position in the Constructor’s Championship and now tie with McLaren on eight points.
Team Principal Guenther Steiner summed up today’s race by saying: “Not the race we’d have hoped for. It seems that we had a very similar problem to what we had in Bahrain. It was déjà vu. So, we need to look into it, and work hard to get this issue sorted. We move on to the next one.”
The top ten finishers in the Chinese Grand Prix were Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Kimi Räikkönen and Alexander Albon.
The next round of the 2019 season is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on 28th April at the Baku City Circuit.
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man Behind The Wheel and Our Man On The Ground Travel and Lifestyle Magazine.
Photographs courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari Press Office and Haas F1 Team